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Project Runway: There IS an "I" in Team

Casanova wins the night with his couture detail.
A.J. is sent home when he ditches his style for this shapeless shirtdress.
Should Gretchen have been sent home for manipulating her team and leading the group to failure?
Casanova wins the night with his couture detail.

Casanova wins the night with his couture detail.

Photo: Lifetime Television

This week on Project Runway, two teams of six designers were challenged to create a six piece collection for Fall 2010 based on trends for the season. Teams were asked to choose one concept (Minimalism, 50s Retro & Lady-like Shapes, Menswear for Women, or Military) and one textile (Gold, Camel, Leopard & Cheetah Prints, Plaid, or Lace) to use as the inspiration for their collection. To succeed the teams needed to work together to make the collection cohesive. The budget for this challenge was $1,000 at Mood for each team. After the preliminary business of choosing teams and themes, the  designers were able to get started sketching. As usual when teams are involved, there was some drama between the designers.

Team Luxe (Menswear for Women & Camel): Gretchen, A.J., Ivy, Michael C., Christopher, and Andy. Gretchen became the default leader of this team of stronger designers. They decided to take an odd approach to the challenge. Tackling items from each garment, instead of each designer being responsible for a garment. This spelled disaster when it came time for the judges to send someone home from this losing team. Prior to facing the judges, Team Luxe decided to stand together as a group and not place blame on any one designer. After some pressing from the judges, this plan disintegrated and Gretchen began to come apart at the seams. All of the other designers blamed Michael C. for his poor work, but he held immunity from last week's win, and it was A.J. who was sent home for his shirtdress. After the judges had their say, it was a very angry Tim Gunn who called Gretchen out for her manipulation of the group. Do you think the judges made the right decision this week? Should it have been Gretchen going home?

A.J. Thouvenot

 

Andy South

 

Gretchen Jones

Ivy Higa

 

Michael Costello

 

Christopher Collins

 

VictoriaNorth Victoria North, product manager
Posted on Aug 27th, 2010 in sewing, Project Runway

Comments (25)

RevDi RevDi writes: There was indeed an I in team, and its name was Gretchen. Does no one listen to the instructions? There is no leader, make your own individual looks, but make them work together. There was no call for Henry Ford and an assembly line that I heard. And what Team "Luxe" got was a real Model A look, as in Awful. I was ashamed to find myself so delighted that it was so bad, and hoping against hope that Gretchen would be sent home. I believe she's been manipulating others to do badly to eliminate them - it's a game, right? in her mind. Her people skills are important, because in the fashion industry you must be able to work together.

At least AJ tried sewing French seams. It might not have been a wise choice, given the time constraints, but he was going for some luxe construction. Ivy's look was a nightmare, and could have been grounds for going home.

I don't understand what everyone has against Michael C., and I'm afraid that now the others will be like piranhas sniffing for fresh blood. They've drawn tears from him, and they'll keep trying. Another win by him will be more food for them. Poor Michael. I can't see what "poor construction" they're complaining about, and neither can the judges. Is it because he's straight?

Casanova seems to have found his place, and I hope he will calm down and do well. I like Peach, but I'm afraid she is a one-trick pony. Construction alone won't do it on a design program. I think Michael D, Mondo and Christopher are real contenders.

All in all, it was very satisfying to see the underdogs, who themselves expected to lose, win hands-down, and deserve it. Their "collection" was cohesive, fresh and fun. And I (in my 50s) would actually (with modifications) actually wear most of their clothes.
Posted: 10:37 pm on September 7th

Mrs4Him Mrs4Him writes: This was certainly an entaining episode to watch. The ending made me angry as I think it did most people. I was really proud of what Team Military Lace accomplished. I was also proud of Casanova getting it together, with the help of encouraging words of his model--to produce a very chic and youthful look---which was also my favorite (love those pants). Casanova makes me laugh, lately more than anything. I think maybe he's starting to catch on as to what is expected of him.

It was rather sad to watch Michael C. cry as he looked up at Gretchen in the beginning of the 'loser' critique when she first didn't want to point out anyone's weaknesses or name any names.....and then soon changed her tune to the opposite. The tears soon went to shock and anger on Michael C's part, understandably so. It was really pathetic to blame him for everything when the judges kept telling Team Luxe that he had immunity...........so stop saying his name already!

A.J. was the only one with enough class (of the 5 other designers) to say that he had weaknesses...........and then HE gets sent home! Thought that was awful. I understand he didn't sew much or sew that well, but with others sewing awful, as well and with a much worse attitude should have definitely been considered in the end (can anyone say IVY?)

SOOOO proud of Tim for saying what needed to be said to Gretchen in front of EVERYONE at the end. No one on Team Luxe had enough backbone to stand up to her in the crucial production time of the whole collection process which is to their (or at least A.J.'s) demise.

The 'nice' designers who know what they're doing don't need to worry about the bad behaviors of others on the show and trying to prove it to others and 'the outside world'. The behaviors/attitudes will come to light on their own.........as we all saw.
Posted: 5:12 pm on September 2nd

eardleygirl eardleygirl writes: Personally, I am getting really sick and tired of watching wonderful shows that have showcased amazingly talented people, who deserve to be in the limelight, pander to the formula that most "real life" shows are all about. Putting any number of people together with different degrees of personal baggage, volatile temperaments, and larger than life persona's, despite their abilities or lack of abilities just makes for another Survivor episode. Most people watch Runway because they have a talent for design, or wish they did, and have a passion for sewing. Isn't that why Threads is including this feature? I don't care that Peach sews dresses for women who lunch, I see her as the "token" old person and Casanova is the "token" gay diva, and Michael C is the "token" blue collar guy. Give me back a show that features ten amazingly talented people who have design ability and sewing chops - the formula the show was built on and leave out the extra seven marginally talented baggage who are obviously destined to be eliminated from the get go. The quality of this show has dropped like a rock and I really don't care who wins anymore because I don't have the time or energy to watch this list of losers make outfits out of bottle caps and car parts for sixteen weeks before they get to the crowning moment - I'd rather sew!
Posted: 12:12 pm on September 2nd

Bother Bother writes: Nothing describes the whole mess better than this post at Project RunGay: http://tinyurl.com/292fe3p

Team Luxe produced a nightmare in various shades of beige and I wouldn't have been sorry to see the whole lot of them go, if only for the utter idiocy in calling that mess "Luxe." How did they manage to find all the fabrics at Mood that looked cheap? That takes shopping talent. And having the gall to blame the entire abortion on Michael C demonstrated a complete lack of character on the part of every one of them.

I wasn't all that wild about "Military & Lace" and I still don't see why Casanova won, but it didn't look universally sorry like "Luxe."
Posted: 10:42 am on September 1st

River_Dawn River_Dawn writes: Sorry, one more thing. I am in my fifties and I am disappointed when Peach's designs are shown. Older people can be trendy and she's making us look out of touch. I wish she would be a good representative of the "elder generation", and do the edgy stuff. I am not criticizing her ability to design and sew sweet, girlie pieces, because she is excellent at that.
Posted: 9:24 am on September 1st

River_Dawn River_Dawn writes: Designers need to know how to sew in order to make a successful design that their staff can execute well. To be in the Final Three, these designers must sew a whole collection in a short amount of time!

Casanova adds entertainment value. Hope that is not why he's dodged the bullet so much. Many find his facial expressions, etc, endearing. Other types of artists, writers, etc, can be prima donnas IF they are brilliant enough (others let them ruminate between creations). But fashion designing is very much a business and you don't answer to just an agent, then live in a hole till you finish your next book.

Anyone want to predict the Final Three?? I think it will be Andy South, Michael D, and Mondo. But i'm probably wrong, ha ha.


Posted: 9:18 am on September 1st

krisnam krisnam writes: While Gretchen did take over,is quite annoying, and made *extremely* bad choices I do not think she deserved to go home for being the leader. It was the responsibility of the whole team to stand up to her and say, "this looks like my grandmas closet if she was having a nightmare."

I thought that AJ was the right choice all he sewn was one lousy shirt dress. However AJ was the only one on the team who had the class not to blame Michael C. We have no way of knowing whether he can sew or not, were not there. Also do designers even sew in real life?

As far as the other team goes I liked Cassonova's Pants. However I liked Mondo"s and Michael D's looks better. Apparently having being a "Diva" pays on Project Runway.
Posted: 8:54 am on September 1st

wenoel wenoel writes: Gretchen is an annoying know-it-all who thinks she's the only one with talent and the last word in taste. BUT that isn't my biggest gripe about her. I don't think she has done anything exceptional. She can sew but I see nothing new, original, different or outside the box from her designs. THAT'S what the show is supposed to be about. A new original, designer who will give us something we haven't seen before. So far everything she's done I've seen. And I've seen it many years ago. It isn't even current. Team Luxe not only made a huge mistake listening to every word she said they went along with her boring colors, her snide comments about others designs and her complete disregard for anyone elses views. Unfortunately they deserved to lose for allowing her to ram her way through the entire episode. What were they thinking??

I don't like Casanova and his taste so far seems questionable but good for him for pulling himself up by the bootstraps and making it work and winning the day! You go!
Posted: 12:57 am on September 1st

Kate_W Kate_W writes: OK. So what I really need to know is what are we sewing for concept (minimal, 50s retro, etc.) and textile (gold, camel, etc.) this fall? I have a couple hours to sew this Labor Day weekend ... pants, I need pants.
Posted: 9:41 pm on August 31st

GingerInk GingerInk writes: I watch Project Runway online at mylifetime.com. Every episode, I can't help putting myself in each challenge--asking myself how I would respond, what I would do, what I would make. I know as an artist I'd have a tough time working as a team with *any*one, but especially one like Team Luxe, where the least common denominator became the rule of the day! Yikes!

Gretchen can be a bit bossy, but that shouldn't be the reason to go home. The competition is about design and sewing skills. There's more to see from Gretchen. I'm glad she isn't gone yet.
Posted: 9:19 pm on August 31st

4rebecca 4rebecca writes: I felt like Tim wasn't blaming Gretchen for everything that went wrong for the Luxe team. I felt like he was telling the other team members that they were part of the team and they let Gretchen run the show instead of standing up for themselves. The rest of the team gave up the "I" in team to Gretchen. Gretchen was "hurt" that Tim blamed the whole disaster on her. It wasn't about Gretchen, it was about the team giving her the lead. Gretchen is opinionated, but the team agreed with her opinions, and that was their failure and that led to the failure of the team.

Posted: 7:50 pm on August 31st

Rosebud24 Rosebud24 writes: I thought that Gretchen should have gone home. Everyone should have designed and made their own outfits for the runway. That was part of the challenge. They could help each other if needed. The were supposed to design their own outfit keeping in mind what everyone else was making.

But Gretchen took over and at first I thought they would be ok and the winning team. But before they even went to the fabric store they were in trouble.

I thought that their part of the runway show was a snooze. I didn't like any of the looks at all. I agreed with the proportion that the judges discussed.

Acording to the previews this week has a revenge air about it. Hope Gretchen gets sent home.





Posted: 6:11 pm on August 31st

BeckyinNC BeckyinNC writes: I loved the Military and Lace team's collection! I was surprised they ended up together and a little afraid when they chose this category--but they did great!

I think Gretchen should have gone home. She has influenced other designers on past shows to their undoing! I suppose they should have more confidence in their designs--but she had complete responsibility for these mediocre designs! She does do nice work-but other's have gone home based on one week before!

Loved Cassanova's and Peach's. I think Tim is sometimes a little quick to pass judgement when perhaps he doesn't see the final picture.
Posted: 6:01 pm on August 31st

bkryatty bkryatty writes: Team Luxe - that was four against two with the four going into the challenge clearly having already decided that they weren't going to like anything Michael C or AJ were doing. I wish Michael C had more backbone - then he could have had fun reminding the four know-it-alls that he had immunity and that if they didn't lighten up, he could mess them all up. Fortunately, for once the judges had no problem figuring out what was going on and told them off. As to who should have gone home, I would have picked Ivy. That outfit was a hot mess, a whole lot of ugly, you name it. And hooray for Tim Gunn. They deserved the slap he gave them.

Liked the Military and Lace collection and love Casanova's outfit. The outfit deserved a win but I have no patience with a big prima donna who lies weeping on a couch and waits for people to beg him to return. If he wants success in the grown up world, he needs to get over that fast.
Posted: 5:54 pm on August 31st

Kukana Kukana writes: I was pleasantly surprised by the lace/military team's designs. This was the best looks we've seen from Casanova, Peach and April. Valerie, Mike D and Mondo - good jobs as well. Definitely looked like a collection, but you could still see the individual style of each designer. I agreed with who won.

I was put off by the behavior of the other team. It was good to see Ivy & Gretchen get taken down a peg. There was nothing inspiring about that collection - although I liked the cowl neck blouse that Michael C made.

Does anyone remember Wendy Pepper???? Gretchen is just a younger, more talented version I'm afraid.....
Posted: 5:49 pm on August 31st

texasgalfw texasgalfw writes: I disagree with everyone. I am tired of Casanova whining and crying all the time. If he can't take the heat get out of the kitchen but he'll do well and might even win because HEIDI likes him. I don't blame Gretchen for what she did. Everyone else sat around with their mouths open - they needed some sort of leadership and she stepped up to the plate. I agree that she shouldn't have changed her mind at the judging or thrown Michael under the bus but really he couldn't even draft a cowl neckline - come on. He probably is a designer on paper but can't bring his designs to fruition. I don't think their collection was that bad but then I usually don't agree with the judges but I don't know why they have 3 - it's obvious that it's what Heidi likes. I do't think they should have shared the outfits - that was a bad idea. What was so unusual about Peach's outfit? Nothing. Gretchen is talented and they all know it and they ar going to make her life miserable and let's hope she can handle it.
Posted: 5:41 pm on August 31st

Skymom Skymom writes: This episode was fascinating to watch, although (perhaps because?) it was a bit of a train wreck on the "Luxe" side. Behavior aside, their collection really wasn't too great. Fundamentally, their plan to distribute the sewing tasks to the people who could best do them wasn't a bad idea, but since there wasn't a strong enough design concept to start with, each piece ended up less than it should have been, and certainly didn't work with the others all that well.

I'm not sure exactly who made each piece, but the little camel blazer looked quite good, and the blouse that I think Michael C. did (open back with straps, work with camel palazzo pants) had that Grace-Kelly-in-Rear-Window surprise effect that worked well. Unfortunately, the obviously badly made pieces (A.J.'s shirtdress--dull design, bad fabric choice; Ivy's entire ensemble; the hideous "grandpa" cardigan shown with the palazzo pants--so unfinished it wasn't even PRESSED along the facing edges??) were glaring, and it was hard to see what was good about the collection. Add to that the strange, unflattering proportions, and such a painful misuse of what were probably very fine fabrics, and it was just sad.

Military and lace sounded like a really terrible idea to me, but the collection ended up quite appealing. Lots of attractive, original detail, generally really good fit, a pleasing assortment of colors, textures, and styles. And it just goes to show you: even though Tim thought Casanova's black lace blouse looked "old," a stunning classic like that is timeless, and can be brought up-to-date without too much trouble. The white pants were brilliant in fit and design, and just the thing to set off the top and make it modern.

As usual, Mondo's look was one of my favorites. Each week he makes something that's completely unlike the other designers' work, that screams "Mondo!" And while there's always a bit of humor, it's neither silly nor obnoxious. He manages to combine dead-serious, rock-solid design with a quirky sense of fun. I'm beginning to rethink my plans for my post-50 style makeover: was going to do all-black, Miyake/Yamamoto/etc. arty/edgy severity, but now I think maybe a Mondo approach might be more amusing!
Posted: 8:36 am on August 30th

thomy thomy writes: Military Lace deserved to win and Casanova got just what he needed to pull through, a kick in the pants. His blouse was a stunner, intricate and finely constructed. He needs more confidence in himself and courage to stand by his vision while considering and integrating the criticism of the judges and Tim. Team Luxe, namely Gretchen behaved horribly. I'm not sure what the totality of criteria was in determining who went home, but in the "military", leaders take responsibility for their troops. That said, Gretchen who bullied her way through that entire challenge should have packed her bags. The way she threw Michael C under the bus was disgusting. Maybe his work suffered as a result of being under the communistic rule of tyrant Gretchen.
Posted: 8:11 am on August 30th

EvaDress EvaDress writes: I don't watch the show, but I love Casanova's lace entry above...the classiest.
Posted: 3:40 am on August 30th

River_Dawn River_Dawn writes: Well, I was not a happy camper last Thursday night.

As FINE a seamstress as Gretchen is, I let my emotions get in the way, and was hoping that she would go.

When they said AJ was out, I hit my fist so hard on our recliner, that our Chihuahua almost bounced off the other side.

But attitude IS important for whoever the big winner will be. If Gretchen is calculating, unreasonable, pig-headed, and egotistical, can she work in the business world where teamwork is so important?

I don't think Gretchen's talent is over the top, not like Austin Scarlett's. (Hey, I've met him. He designed the bridal gown we bought for our daughter in Chicago- the one big indulgence for her wedding in 2008. But I knew he was very talented from the first show when he wove corn husks together to make a dress.)

Should her awful attitude be cause for the judges to send her home?
Posted: 4:39 pm on August 29th

bakertoo bakertoo writes: I feel Tim Gunn was too lenient on Gretchen, and could have included Ivy into the reprimand as well. They were just awful, and showed their true selves-very arrogant and self-centered, when they knew the team idea/concept was the focus. I think we all knew there was going to be high drama when the teams were put together, no matter who was on which team! But I was kind of surprised how the judges showed their obvious disgust at Gretchens behavior. And that Tim Gunn said something directly to Gretchen-well, that says a lot about the overall bad situation. The whole competition seems set up for all that kind of personal design bashing and criticism between the competitors-we see that every week with the talking head shots of all of the designers.

Posted: 1:21 pm on August 29th

Soli Soli writes: Team Luxe - bad behavior, nothing exciting. For the so-called designers to pile on Michael C was unwarranted. People have different ways of communicating - visual, audio, kinetic. Obviously, Michael's learning/communication style did not jell with Gretchen and Ivy, who in their arrogance don't know everything about managing people. Team Lace - well done. For once I liked what Peach did. Good on her. There was a little less drama on that side, other than Cassanova, and at least they were able to pull together and rise above their challenges rather than implode like the "cool" kids.
Posted: 8:39 pm on August 28th

Cherlyn Cherlyn writes: Congradulations to the winners. I loved Michael D and Casanova's looks the best. Once I could see the collection on stage as a whole, it was clear which team had clearly met this challenge.

It's about thime the the judges see that Gretchen is not a nice person and hard to deal with. She always wants to through someone other than herself under the bus, naturally, she wanted that to be Michael C. She didn't agree with last week's choice so she wanted him to look bad. It all blew up in her face! I'm glad that the judges saw her true colors.

What is this with all the zippers showing all the time? I don't find it appealing to see a zipper going up the back of someone's real end. I like Valorie's jacket and nothing else. Peach had a really nice dress this time, but the top part of it was my favorite part. I wasn't crazy about Mondo's look and why is the designers trying to copy this backless look. It's ugly---like someone cropped off the back. The front of that garment was okay, the back side ruined the outfit.
Posted: 4:28 pm on August 28th

Kate_W Kate_W writes: Note to Threads: Casanova's look is from a couple of weeks ago.

The judging of the luxe team was painfful to watch. I think A.J. was sent home not so much because he gave up his design aesthetic for the team, but because he doesn't seem able to construct (at least in a short time period). Gretchen can produce.

I agree with @sews4fun. It looked like Ivy designed all of team Luxe's looks.

As for the military and lace team, I thought Mondo or Michael Drummond should have won.

After watching the luxe team unravel at judging, it was refreshing to see the military & lace team be so supportive of each other and Michael C. in the back room. Just sayin'.
Posted: 10:10 am on August 28th

sews4fun sews4fun writes: I have never seen a shirtdress the judges liked, and if memory serves me correctly, I believe there has been more than one shirtdress that was the designer's waterloo at the judging.
I thought team lux's stuff was a snore and I would have sworn Ivy designed every piece if I had not watched it myself. None of it looked well made, it was all sloppy and looked dated and old to me.
Three cheers for military and lace's team! Although I thought Mondo should have won, I knew it would be Cassanova after the primadonna meltdown he had. It was SO predictable!

Posted: 6:28 pm on August 27th

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